Tile Art has built numerous steam showers and we pride ourselves on the ability to properly construct and prepare a substrate to be used as a steam shower. If you are building a steam shower you should be aware that they require someone educated in and experienced with steam shower construction.
Building a steam shower requires very specific and unique considerations. Although they closely resemble normal shower construction certain things need to be done differently to ensure that your steam shower not only operates properly but that it correctly contains and dissipates vapor and condensation without affecting the surrounding structure.
Steam showers not only need to be waterproofed, they need to be able to handle vapor transmission. If the substrate is not properly prepared the steam may actually condense behind the tile and substrate and cause damage to the underlying structure as well as create a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. We prefer a topical waterproofing membrane for steam showers which allows all vapor to condensate before it enters the wall or ceiling substrate. While industry standards indicate acceptable use of a vapor barrier behind the substrate that particular method allows your substrate to be saturated with moisture before it reaches the barrier – we prefer to stop it at the surface (directly behind the tile).
While the technical aspects of vapor transmission take years to learn there are always variables unique to each installation. In Northern Colorado you must also take into consideration the location of the shower walls. If one of the shower walls is an exterior structure wall certain things must be done to ensure that it is absolutely vapor proof. In winter that wall will be colder than any other surface of the shower. Vapor will tend to head toward that wall as it attempts to equalize the pressure (cooler air). It will then condense there and be flushed out of the shower. If this wall is improperly constructed the vapor will condense in the wall cavity and lead to structural problems.
From the nature of vapor transmission and proper ventilation to the need to slope the ceiling (so cold condensation does not drip on you) steam showers require unique knowledge and methods to construct properly. Please ensure that whomever you choose to utilize for your steam shower construction has the ability and knowledge needed to properly construct a lasting project. If you need a steam shower built in Fort Collins, Loveland, or any part of Northern Colorado just give us a call or fill out our contact form to discuss your needs.